It took exactly 47 minutes from Main Street of Clinton NJ to be at the bag drop at Shawnee Inn and Golf, so if you are looking for a great golf getaway this fall you don’t have to travel very far to get there.
First off we want to give a loud shout out to Joe Manley, once again he seamlessly set up our trip and made everything work out perfectly. Cannot thank him enough and if you want to book an outing at this wonderful course be sure and reach out to him and you will be in fabulous hands.
The course – Probably not what most expect when making a sojourn to the Poconos. Most of the courses are very hilly in this region and the thing that makes Shawnee unique is that it is super flat as it is on an island in the Delaware River. It also has a bald eagles nest. A halfway house in the middle of the island, two par three’s where you shoot over the river and many holes that run along the river.
The other nice thing is that there are three nines, red, white, and blue, so you can mix and match to your personal taste. Each nine has three par three’s, three par fours, and three par fives, which as a golfer you know is pretty unusual. We played all three nine’s, which meant playing nine par five’s, and if honesty is the policy here I was a bit sore the next day reaching back and trying to get to all of them in two shots.
The course is in great condition, the greens are nice and zippy, but do pay attention, there are a lot of subtle breaks that can make you look a wee bit foolish if you don’t take a quick stroll around the hole. The sand traps are well manicured but some are pretty steep so take note of their existence or pay the price. There was a nice variety of tee boxes so anyone can pick out a distance of their liking and have a challenging round.
Overall we had a fabulous time and can easily recommend this establishment as one of your go to places in the Poconos.
To the course, White nine first. From the back tees.
Hole number one you get right to it. Par 5, rare back and give it a rip. The fairway is wide and if you want a prefect angle hit a fade off of the pine tree on the right.
Second shot give it all you got. It’s straight down the pipe with little trouble anywhere. Use the three wood and give yourself a chance for that magical eagle starting the day.
Hopefully you had some time to hit a few practice puts. There is a putting green outside the inn and there is also one out on the island so get there a little here and stroke a few. These greens run pure and you will have no problem getting the ball to the green.
Love this par three. It may seem benign playing only 160 from the tips, but this is a very delicate shot. The tree on the left does a great job at protecting and if you shy away from that the bunker on the right is ready to snag you ball. Then you have a sand shot that goes away and is easy to scoop right over the green.
This green slopes severely from right to left and if you can manage it hit your tee ball below the hole. If you are up above it and the pin is lower left you better give it the slightest of whispers or you will be off the surface.
Now that you are stretched out have a go at this drive. This par five plays predominantly downwind but at 557 you are going to need some major snacks to get close. The rough on the right is a bit devilish so be careful if you tend to hit it that way. A number on shot is taking it off that tree on the left.
Tried to get a picture from behind the green to show you what to expect on your second shot. Coming down the fairway there is a large tree on the right side that protects the green. Your second shot, probably a layup with a four or five iron to about 120 yards needs to go down the left side of the fairway. Position is much more important that getting that extra fifteen yards. The green is large so take a long look at where the red flag is on the stick and if its playing back take an extra club.
Now we are talking. Par three 185. In your head you want to take enough club to get it down the shoot and carry to the back of the green, BUT, yes sir the Delaware River is right behind the green and by right behind I mean 6 feet. Should you happen to pull out to much club your ball is on the way to the water gap. But if you are short this is a nasty little two tiered green which gives you an incredibly delicate chip that can easily get away from you. It played true to the distance so pick a club and swing confidently.
And old scenic cabin sits behind the teeing ground.
The green slopes front to back with a fall off ridge three quarters of the way back.
As you can see the river provides a spectacular back drop.
The final par five of this nine. From the back tees you hit through a shoot of trees. The tricky thing is there is a pond bordered by high reeds on the right. Ideally you want to hit a fade off the left side. The problem is the tree line on the left is tighter than you might imagine. Unless you are very comfortable with the big dog you might opt for hitting a three wood down the belly.
Take out the three wood and give it a go. There’s a bit of trouble on the right but plenty of room left. It’s reachable and you can get under par right here.
Traps all around, if you find one be aggressive, this is a receptive green that has a small swale in the middle. If you are fortunate enough to be putting for eagle don’t leave it short and stay on the high side and smile.
Have you noticed you haven’t played a par four yet and you’ve been on the course for an hour? Here’s the first of three, and you big hitters are going to be tempted to try and drive it on the surface. The problem is to do so you really have to cut the right edge close and hit a power fade. The smart move is to hit a three wood and leave yourself between 60 and 100 yards.
Another good sized green. Be aggressive with the putt. This should be a great birdie opportunity.
As docile as the last hole was this is the opposite, turning back into the wind you need to rip a drive 250 to give yourself a shot of about 170 in for your third. Again you come out of a shoot of trees and there is trouble lurking on the right side.
Depending upon how you fared with the driver you can have a mid iron or hybrid into this green. Right is dead
Again, as we found all day, many of the greens were very deep so you have to take into account the red flag on the stick telling you front middle back and club accordingly. This green seemed to have all sorts of subtle breaks and if it’s your first time, lagging and two putting is the smart move. Get a little frisky and the number can skyrocket.
Three par fours in a row and this is a great one. If you are down the right side you are blocked out and in trouble, having to take it directly over a very tall tree. So just hit it down the left side you say, ahh yes but there is a pond over there for the over aggressive. This is a fun driving hole.
This is the view from the right fairway. Even a ball in the short hairs over here has a very difficult time landing on the surface. If you are being bold make sure you have plenty of loft to clear the tree.
231 uphill into a cross breeze. Do we need to say anything more? Make sure you have enough stick and for most of you it is going to be a strong three wood and perhaps a driver. Grip it and rip it. Oh and by the way there are bunkers protecting both front sides and behind.
Though it is sloped severely back to front, if you are under the hole be real aggressive. The ball will move down river a bit, so allow for that, but if you happen to hit the surface and make a birdie you are most likely gaining at least two shots on your fellow players. Great hole to finish the nine.
After that long par three who doesn’t want to partake in an adult beverage at the halfway house?